14 August, 2015

The art of stillness: adventures in going nowhere by Pico Iyer

“In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.”

This is how well-known travel writer Pico Iyer, who has been traversing the globe for decades, ends his volume on visiting the most important place in the world – inside oneself.

Particularly in this age of technological distractions, he emphasises the importance of taking time off from the over-busyness of life and learn to be still. Practising contemplative stillness is a good way to keep direction, understand oneself and appreciate the world in its beauty more fully.

Citing examples from Leonard Cohen, Mahatma Gandhi, Dalai Lama and his own experiences, he takes us on a journey of observation and technique to step away from the world, which as he explains, doesn’t mean turning one’s back on it. Whether it is for a few moments in a day or for a season in the year these precious pockets of stillness are rich with the rewards of faith in beauty and love for the world with everything in it.

Iyer’s reflections on the meditative mind are global without religious or theistic connotation. Written purposely as a short volume, to be absorbed in one sitting, this is almost a very long essay.
I enjoyed this small book with a big message simply because it makes you think about living life more mindfully.

And what could be more important than that?

You can also hear Pico Iyer speak on the art of stillness at ted.com.

Title: The art of stillness: adventures in going nowhere
Author: Pico Iyer

Recommended by Suneeta N, Highland Park Library

Suneeta N particularly enjoys biographies, travel stories and reading authors from around the world. She loves a good discussion and believes that everybody has a story worth telling.

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